Jed. The best is yet to be.

Jedediah “Jed” Lewis Feistel, 2 years old, ran through the gates of Heaven on Sunday, October 8, 2017.

In Memory of Jed

(Click the picture link below to see video)

In memory of Jed

(Parent’s tribute to Jed read at his funeral)

Abby: It seems a little unfair to me to let you assume that Rich and I were the main players in Jed’s life. Both Jed and Christina have had teams of medical people who not only saved their lives on multiple occasions, but who have poured their hearts into our babies. You are so special to us, thank you.

Rich: The first time I saw Jed he had about five sets of hands all over him, you could just catch a glimpse of him every once in a while.  The poor little guy was trying so hard to breath. The first few minutes were intense.  Jed turned blue as soon as the umbilical cord was cut and immediately started getting chest compressions from the McCleod NICU team.  They were working hard to try and establish his airway and Abby couldn’t see any of what was going on.  She looked up at me asking how he was doing.  I couldn’t find the words to tell her that our boy was dying, but I’m sure she could read it all over my face.  The words stuck in my throat as I’m standing there looking at my wife grasping for what to tell her, then he started breathing.  He had blown holes in both of his lungs, had a breathing tube, and even with all that he was furious and trying to cry!  Jed went on a helicopter ride to the Medical University of South Carolina the next day, spent one or two days in the NICU and was transferred over to the PICU.  This would be Jed’s home for the majority of his life.

Abby: Jed’s world for most of his life has sounded like the snap of latex gloves, an IV pump beeping, the tank like rumble of the xray machine coming down the hall, the clicking of his nurse charting at her computer, the tread of feet from the flock of medical personnel making their rounds, the clank of doors, and the quiet (or not so quiet) chatter of nurses. In many ways his world was cold and sterile, and yet, in so many more ways it was pulsing vibrantly with the most beautiful parts of life. Courage was there, sacrifice, loyalty, bonding of humanity, tired hands never giving up, small bodies fighting toe to toe with death and winning, and most of all there was love. It is this love that taught us of the kindness of God who does not watch suffering from a remote location, but who enters into it with us. Jed spent more days away from home, than he spent home; and yet not one moment did he ever spend alone. Before Jed was born, before I knew that his body was broken, I prayed that he would grow up to be a preacher. But I didn’t want just any kind of preacher, I wanted a “shake the world and turn it upside down kind of preacher”. Well God answered part of that prayer, He just did it in a way I didn’t expect. Jed preached God’s hope when the doctors told us we could abort him, because he would die anyway.

Rich: Jed preached faith in the strength of God when his first days of life were lived one uncertain hour to the next. Jed preached God’s peace when cancer stole his chances for a transplant. Jed preached trust in a God who thinks larger than we do, when he was given another chance for treatment. Jed preached God’s mercy when he sailed through a liver transplant. Jed preached God’s grace to our family as we privately fragmented and splintered and struggled through difficult days.

Abby: Jed preached God’s tender healing love when he was set free from pain, and brokenness and disease. As far as turning the world upside down, really he did a pretty good job of that just on our family, but I guess it will have to be up to us to finish his job. Before he rolled off to his liver transplant, he sat sucking his fingers on my lap, looking at me with his big blue eyes, and I promised him, if he needed to go ahead and leave us, we would do his preaching for him.  So some people find comfort after a loss like this by fund raising for cancer research and 5k running and facebook posting for different causes and such things…all of those things I’m all for and I will do as I get the chance…accept maybe the running the 5k part…I might just buy a tshirt…but those things aren’t really my bandwagon. No, my bandwagon is God, because I’ve seen what I’ve seen, I know beyond all doubt, He’s the only healer to broken hearts, He’s the only answer to a medical mystery, He’s the only medicine that’s going to soothe both the patient and the doctor and the family. He’s already been researched and He doesn’t need funding. He is not going to be outdated when a new strand of problem crops up.

Rich: We are going to take all our memories and all our experiences with Jed, and that big clock that’s been ticking down Jed’s life in our heads since he was born, and we’re going to use them to do exactly what we would have wanted Jed to grow up doing. And that is letting folks know there is a very big God who lives in yesterday, who is here right now today, and who is already in tomorrow, who knows your name, and knows your needs, and knows your hurts, and knows when your clock will run out of seconds too

Abby: …and not only does He know those things, He loves every messy detail of it all. We want folks to know that a love like that from a God like that, takes the teeth right out of the biggest pain they’ll ever suffer, it takes the sting out of death, it takes the power out of fear, and it turns a messy life into a mosaic of Grace. We did not willingly give up our son for anyone, and yet much good has been done through his life. Jed gives us a new perspective on the love that God had to willingly offer his son, Jesus Christ to die for us. In memory of a little chubby cheeked boy whose days were far too short, we ask you to join our bandwagon, and let’s make good use of the time we’ve been given.

Rich: Let’s make sure the world around us knows God is and always will be the final answer to all the brokenness in us and around us. There’s a song our church choir sings here that perfectly sums up Jed’s life and the impact he had on ours, it goes like this…

“If I told you my story
You would hear Hope that wouldn’t let go
And if I told you my story
You would hear Love that never gave up
And if I told you my story
You would hear Life, but it wasn’t mine

If I told you my story
You would hear victory over the enemy
And if I told you my story
You would hear freedom that was won for me
And if I told you my story
You would hear Life overcome the grave

If I should speak then let it be
Of the grace that is greater than all my sin
Of when justice was served and where mercy wins
Of the kindness of Jesus that draws me in
Oh to tell you my story is to tell of Him

This is my story, this is my song
Praising my savior all the day long…”

2 Corinthians 4:18   While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal. 

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5 Responses to Jed. The best is yet to be.

  1. Kristin (redskittles8) says:

    I’ve been following Jed’s journey through Paula on Ravelry. I’ve been praying for him and you guys since I learned his name. I can’t even imagine what you’ve been through, but your Faith in God Almighty is amazing!! Know that I pray for you as you grieve and continue to walk in faith.
    In Christ,

  2. Leah says:

    May God be near you and hold you close to Him. I’m inspired by your faith and trust in God. You’ve been preaching all along, as I’ve followed your blog… Blessings to you and your family.

  3. Rachelle says:

    You two are always inspiring others! To you, your life may be simple with lots of bumps in the road here and there. As for me and my family we have been blessed to have a small part in it! Jed was definitely a preacher, he taught everyone to never under estimate the Power of God… Love you all my friend!

  4. Ruth Harbour says:

    Dear Abby and Rich, What a precious gift you’ve given . Thank you for pointing us to our great God and Savior, who is SO good even when we’re broken, or life is so hard. Jed was a special little guy. So glad he’s with Jesus, and especially glad we can get to know him there someday! May the Lord sustain you as you grieve your loss. We watched you grow in Taiwan, and loved your mom and dad, Rich. God bless and comfort you all, and give Grandmother a hug from us Harbours.
    Love and prayers, Mark and Ruth

  5. Sally says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss. Your faith is a shining example of the strength, courage and wisdom, and compassion of our mighty God. I pray Jed’s story reaches out to people everywhere to show Gods mercy. What a powerful preacher he was while on this earth! That smile of his just makes you feel so good. Thanks for sharing your journey with us, your faith and trust certainly are encouraging. Watching you two leaning on Gods strength. Thank you.

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